One of the weirdest calls to end a baseball game occurred last night. After getting the lead runner at home, Red Sox C Jarrod Saltalamachia threw the ball to third in an attempt to get Allen Craig (who was running from second to third) out. The ball went into left field, but LF Daniel Nava threw the ball back in and Saltalamacchia got the tag on Craig. Here is where things get weird. Craig, who was clearly out, was called safe at home. After initial confusion, Craig was called safe due to interference. What had happened was, when Craig was running home, he tripped over Sox 3B Will Middelbrooks legs. The rule in the MLB is, in short, if a player is interfered with on the base path, whether intentional or not, the runner is awarded a free base. Thus, Craig is allowed to come home and score, effectively ending the game. This call warranted a lot of controversy, but it was ultimately the right call.
Moving forward, the Red Sox cannot dwell on this loss. They need to win tonight or this series could very well be over. Here are two keys for the Red Sox if they want to win this game.
Key #1- Wake the bats up. The Red Sox continue to have a damn near non-existent offseason. Ignoring game one, Boston is hitting under .200 in the past two series. To make matters worse, Mike Napoli is on the bench due to no DH and Shane Victorino is a late scratch due to back tightness. In addition to these, David Ross will be starting at catcher for defensive purposes. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and the rest of the crew will need to seriously pick up their game if they hope to pull this one out.
Key #2- Avoid stupid plays. Despite however you feel about the interference call, Saltalamacchia should not have made that throw. Craig was likely going to be safe anyways, and there was no reason to throw the ball to third. This isn’t the first time the Sox were haunted by a bad throw. In game 2, Craig Breslow threw the ball over to third in another failed attempt to get a runner who would likely have been safe. The ball sailed into left field, letting the winning run score, and the rest was history. Boston needs to know when to just hold the ball or risk ending the series in St. Louis.